After the Republicans running for lieutenant governor held a televised debate, we asked the insiders for a political assessment of the race.
To be quick about it, they think there will be a runoff, and they are skeptical about the electoral chances for the Democrat in the race, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio. Only 24 percent give her a chance of winning.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is the front-runner among the insiders, who chose him and Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston as the two candidates most likely to make a runoff. They also said Patrick was the most likely challenger to knock off the incumbent in a runoff, but then turned around and said he would be by far the weakest of the four Republicans to face Van de Putte in a general election.
We collected their verbatim comments as we went along and a full set of those is attached. Here’s a sampling:
Do you think there will be a Republican runoff for lieutenant governor?
• "With 4 skillful candidates fighting for a single spot on the ballot, 'heading for a runoff' is about the only reliable prediction we can make about this race at this point."
• "Seemed almost certain there would be a runoff a few weeks ago, but the challengers are falling short of expectations."
• "Dewhurst Nightmare on Main Street, II. Run-off with Patrick. Will Ted Cruz get to interview Danny Goeb?"
• "Patrick, Patterson and Staples all have significant constituencies -- enough in total to force a runoff."
• "Dewhurst will likely win outright, IF he opens up his wallet."
• "Let's see if the Dew has his mojo back."
• "Has to be. Too many names."
If there is a Republican runoff for lieutenant governor, which two candidates will be in it?
• "The Dew is in because he has the money to compete. Patrick is in because he knows how to handle the circus of a republican primary."
• "Patterson's debate performance will get him a fresh look and more than a few dollars; Patrick's toxic cocktail of piety and moral relativism may have done him in; it's a toss-up whether the establishment will stick with Staples or retreat back to Dewhurst."
• "Patterson will get the most votes in the class clown competition, but won't break 12 percent in the popular vote."
• "Could be either Patterson or Patrick in a runoff with Dewhurst."
• "Patterson and Staples have screwed each other; if only one of them was in the race, they might be able to consolidate the ABP (Anybody But Patrick) opposition. Instead, they will split it and both get less than 15% of the vote."
• "David Dewhurst vs. What's His Name"
If there is a runoff and David Dewhurst is in it, who has the best chance against him?
• "As the insiders' comments on the last Dewhurst race showed, our group isn't very good at predicting Republican runoffs."
• "The business community would get behind Staples. Early fall, the inside intelligence group was hoping the Dew would resign into the sunset because they wanted a pro-business, level headed candidate to support."
• "I am picking Patterson because he's right for the job and you didn't offer an, 'any of them' option."
• "I used to think any of the three could beat Dewhurst in a run-off. But Patterson and Staples are clearly not ready for prime time. Patrick has the only real shot at beating Dewhurst."
• "Depends on if they have resources. Runoffs are bad for incumbents, so anyone that would make it would probably have a puncher's chance."
Which Republican candidate would be weakest in a general election race against Democrat Leticia Van de Putte?
• "Weak is relative. Any of the four would still be heavily favored, but Patrick is the most extreme."
• "Democrats are hoping for Patrick and it's not because he would lose, but because he would be the one factor that could speed-up Texas turning blue. Patrick is the Texas Pete Wilson and the one person that can push the Reagan Democrats back into voting for democrats."
• "A D might actually win, if Patrick is the nominee."
• "Hypothetically, it's Patrick. But this is a nonsensical question, because there is a 0.00% chance of the GOP candidate losing."
• "None of the above would be considered weak against her."
• "The contrasts are too powerful for Patrick."
Do you think Van de Putte can win in the general election?
• "Democrats need to have a full slate, including Van de Putte, for 2 major reasons - and the likelihood of winning is not one of them. Reason #1 - A full slate is important for rebuilding efforts. #2 - A Republican candidate might self destruct and hand the seat to a Democrat by default."
• "Texas is very conservative and very Republican and Van de Putte is not nearly a transcendent enough candidate."
• "Not unless Patrick is the nominee, and probably not in that event, either."
• "When Texans learn how LIBERAL she is, they'll turn out for the Republican."
• "VDP is not on the ticket to win. Ds are just using her to get Hispanic and female votes. They could care less about her campaign. Check out her fundraising numbers. There ain't a rich west Austin doctor writing VDP a million dollar check."
• "If all the stars align. She is a far better politician than any of the Rs on the ballot."
Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Jenny Aghamalian, Victor Alcorta, Brandon Alderete, Clyde Alexander, George Allen, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, Dave Beckwith, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, Blaine Bull, David Cabrales, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Marc Campos, Thure Cannon, Snapper Carr, Janis Carter, Corbin Casteel, William Chapman, Elizabeth Christian, Elna Christopher, Harold Cook, Beth Cubriel, Randy Cubriel, Curtis Culwell, Denise Davis, Hector De Leon, Nora Del Bosque, Glenn Deshields, Holly DeShields, Tom Duffy, David Dunn, Richard Dyer, Jeff Eller, John Esparza, Jon Fisher, Wil Galloway, Norman Garza, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Scott Gilmore, Eric Glenn, Daniel Gonzalez, Jim Grace, John Greytok, Jack Gullahorn, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Richard Hardy, John Heasley, Ken Hodges, Steve Holzheauser, Billy Howe, Laura Huffman, Deborah Ingersoll, Mark Jones, Robert Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Ramey Ko, Sandy Kress, Dale Laine, Nick Lampson, Pete Laney, Bill Lauderback, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Leslie Lemon, Richard Levy, Ruben Longoria, Matt Mackowiak, Luke Marchant, Bryan Mayes, Dan McClung, Mike McKinney, Robert Miller, Steve Minick, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Steve Murdock, Keir Murray, Richard Murray, Nelson Nease, Keats Norfleet, Pat Nugent, Todd Olsen, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Jerry Philips, Tom Phillips, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Jay Propes, Ted Melina Raab, Karen Reagan, Tim Reeves, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Carl Richie, Kim Ross, Grant Ruckel, Jason Sabo, Luis Saenz, Andy Sansom, Jim Sartwelle, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Bruce Scott, Robert Scott, Christopher Shields, Jason Skaggs, Martha Smiley, Todd Smith, Larry Soward, Leonard Spearman, Dennis Speight, Jason Stanford, Bill Stevens, Bob Strauser, Colin Strother, Sherry Sylvester, Gerard Torres, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, Corbin Van Arsdale, Ware Wendell, Ken Whalen, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Seth Winick, Alex Winslow, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.